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International indigenous mining partnership developing

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Australian Aboriginal company Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation (KNAC) is working with Alaskan indigenous group NANA to develop global expertise.

The two indigenous groups have been in discussions on business development and training initiatives, with potential partnerships slated, according to The West.

NANA and KNAC are reportedly looking to partner on large resources projects in the US, and will be working together in November at the US's National Minority Supplier Development Council Conference.

This is the first major step for an Australian Indigenous corporation outside of the country, and may herald future development for similar companies as resources operations wind down in Australia.

The two groups have already worked together to secure KNAC's $25 million bid for Newman housing contracts.

Elders from both groups have also reportedly been in contact.

"The connection between the Nyiyaparli and the Inupiat people was instantaneous," KNAC BDM Sue Bergersen said.

"When our people understood the humbleness of their beginnings to where they are today . . . suddenly a whole new world of possibilities opened up."

Australia's mining sector has been focused on developing more indigenous employment in the industry.

Earlier this year it called on the government to change anti-discrimination laws so the industry can advertise positions as Indigenous only.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association said the appeal is being driven by a concerning increase in the Indigenous employee gap.

In a submission to the Australian Government’s review of Indigenous training and employment, headed by Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest, AMMA said that to improve Indigenous participation anti-discrimination laws need to be altered.

"Andrew Forrest's review could also address the existing ambiguity around anti-discrimination laws that can prevent employers from targeting job advertisements to Indigenous people,” AMMA executive director Scott Barklamb said

Currently Indigenous employees make up 3.1 per cent of the total resources sector; more than double the all industries average of 1.4 per cent.

There is no word on whether KNAC or other Aboriginal Corporations will link up with Canada's First Nations people to explore similar business opportunities.

Image: The West Australian.

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